Posted on August 2, 2012
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Today's savvy consumers know that nearly anyone can purchase a fancy Internet landing site and that the quality of an inferior good or service can easily be masked by fancy scripts and appealing copy. Now, they investigate brands and businesses through social media, so you should prepare to acquaint yourself with these outlets.
LinkedIn is one of the most important social media outlets for entrepreneurs who are looking to expand the scope of their businesses. LinkedIn allows users to see your brand from many angles: Your profile reveals telling information, including who works with you, who endorses you, what other customers are saying about you and who is in your network. Unlike the self-generated content that you might display on a company website, none of these values can be fabricated. Your LinkedIn profile is a reliable, organic snapshot of the health of your business.
However, it is not enough simply to create a LinkedIn profile for your business. To properly take advantage of this resource, you will have to invest time and effort into making connections and generate traffic for your profile. The following six tricks will increase your LinkedIn visibility and help you attract and engage new customers.
1. Plug In
Use your existing website to direct traffic to your LinkedIn profile. There are a number of helpful plug-ins for WordPress and other platforms that help lure customers, job applicants and business-to-business contacts to your profile. Whether you wish to use them to encourage satisfied customers to leave recommendations or to give your website viewers access to your professional profile, LinkedIn plug-ins come in a variety of sizes to suit your existing design.
2. Get With Groups
Some of the most popular features of LinkedIn are groups, in which users can connect with others sharing their occupation or interests. Group members share articles and blog posts, giving and receiving feedback and opinions. Maximize your company's exposure by finding the LinkedIn users who are most likely to take interest in your product or service. Participate in group discussions, but be sure that you are offering more than a sales pitch. Make knowledgeable responses and blog comments to spark interest in your group contributions and your profile.
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3. Prime Your Profile
Optimally, your profile should show your existing and potential customers that you are the most credible source on the market. Take your profile seriously: LinkedIn users absolutely will. Select an appropriate profile picture, and use a professional email account. Make sure your work history details any achievements or milestones you have reached during any time you were employed and those held by your business. List any and all of your websites. Selecting “other” when you add your site allows you to add its name rather than listing it simply as a blog, business or personal page.
4. Sync Up
Synchronize your LinkedIn profile with your Twitter, Facebook or other social media pages. This makes sharing across networks easy, especially with the aid of third-party programs such as Hootsuite, which give you the freedom to simultaneously manage all of your social media accounts. You can also sync your LinkedIn with your mobile phone, so it is easy to stay connected when you are on the go. The LinkedIn app is available for free to iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Android users.
5. Jazz it Up
Make your profile stand out among the hundreds of millions of others by enhancing it with LinkedIn applications. You can easily add videos, polls, links, slide shows and more to your profile with apps. Let your customers and business partners know when you are traveling with the TripIt app or use Portfolio Display to put your best face forward to your LinkedIn followers.
6. Contact and Commend
LinkedIn uses your email and social media networks to automatically recommend contacts for your network; however, you will likely wish to broaden your scope. LinkedIn suggests colleagues that you might know based on those you already have, so expanding your network is easy. Once you have established your contact list, take the time to leave feedback about people with whom you have worked. If you leave positive recommendations, you are more likely to receive them. Recommendations boost your LinkedIn traffic and credibility, creating interest in your profile.
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